Single tickets for Oilers snatched up Friday
99 lucky fans to win autographed jerseys at first three home games
Dale Davies bought two single tickets to the Oilers game opener on Tuesday Jan. 22, 2013, against the San Jose Sharks on the first day that Oiler home game tickets were available.
Photograph by: Shaughn Butts, Edmonton Journal
“I’ve just been a longtime fan. For me, the NHL is the best league in the world, so if I want to watch the best hockey, I’m going to have to watch it,” said Davies, who spent about $70 for each of two tickets to the game Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks.
Despite the four-month NHL lockout, which shortened the hockey season to 48 games, single tickets — which went on sale for the first time Friday — sold as well as they have every other year, said Oilers president and CEO Patrick LaForge.
“Not all the tickets are gone, but they went quite well,” said LaForge, who wouldn’t give precise numbers, but estimated between 500 and 1,000 seats are available for each game through single-ticket sales. “No question, the Oilers are a hot idea and people want to see them play,” LaForge said. “On the other hand, the relationship we had with many individuals, fans and customers, I think there’s issues there and they’re not going to go away for a while.”
LaForge said fans are owed many apologies in several different ways in “recognition for their contributions to this organization since 1979.”
One apology came in the form of full-page ads Friday placed by the NHL in the Edmonton Journal and in newspapers is other NHL cities. The ads thanked fans for their patience and apologized for the lost games.
Last weekend’s old-fashioned shinny game at Hawrelak Park, plus open practice sessions with the Oilers, have also gone a long way to repairing trust.
“The only way we get to where we want to go — winning championships and so on and so forth — is with them,” LaForge said, who will be making a detailed announcement Monday about further plans. “We have to do lots of things over the next year to ensure that that is evident because it’s more than just saying it. You have to show it.”
For starts, 99 autographed and collectible jerseys — signed by any Oiler, past or present — will be given out during the first three home games to random people in the crowd.
“They get to pick the Oiler that they’d like to get the autograph (from), not only from the current team, but from every team in the Oilers since 1979,” LaForge said. Think Boris Mironov, Mike Krushelnyski or Doug Weight. And if fans choose a current Oiler such as Nail Yakupov, those players will personally pass the signed jerseys to the winners.
“Their loyalty and support is phenomenal and we know they love the team. We know they love these players,” LaForge said. “We, in turn, love them. It’s that simple.”
Fans like Davies have held true.
“I wasn’t a huge fan of the lockout, but it was something they had to go through to get to this point,” said Davies, 31, who plans to get into a Taylor Hall jersey Tuesday night. “Ultimately, it’s a business. It was just a labour negotiation.”
Craig Cooper was pleased his son, Jacob, asked for Oilers tickets for his 11th birthday.
“He’s quite an avid sports fan,” said Cooper, who bought three single tickets for a total of $160 for the Jan. 28 game. “Everybody is ready for hockey. I’m ready to watch it.”
© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal